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Build it up, up, up!

Let’s talk about construction! From wooden blocks to Lego to cardboard boxes, the options for construction toys are almost endless. When beginning to explore construction – the first construction is putting one object on top of another – stacking.


Very young children will stack ANYTHING! Their soft toys, plastic plates, cups, any variety of objects. They will also construct from a variety of objects in their environment. So, don’t limit construction to blocks from the toy shop. However, some objects will be easier to handle than others – start with hand size objects that fit comfortably into the hand. Plus, some construction blocks and objects will be easier to handle with interesting visual and auditory effects which may encourage attention and motivation.

Choosing toys:

  • If child’s goal is using two hands together, try blocks that need to be pulled apart. Duplo and Smartmax are great options for this. If your child is having a little trouble pulling them apart, loosen the blocks slightly, then let your child have the big success moment of pulling them apart

  • Another option for using two hands is using cardboard boxes large enough that your child cannot lift with one hand. Try putting some dry rice or pasta in the boxes to create more auditory feedback for kids with vision challenges. Cover them with visually interesting (shiny, glittery, high gloss) which seals them to keep the past inside

  • If your child’s goal is stabilising with one hand and using the other to play, try using hand sized, lightweight wooden or foam blocks.

Positioning:

  • In long sitting, your child can sit with their legs apart and the block tower in the middle. Passing the blocks to them from either side is a nice way to sneak in a little trunk rotation

  • If sitting on a stool or chair, build a tall tower of lightweight blocks or boxes with your child – they’ll need to stand up to stack the higher blocks, which is a great way to get in some sit-to-stand practice

  • At the tabletop, your child should be well supported in their seat. They may like to do more complex activities, like craft (using tape to stick their boxes together and make something) or using smaller blocks like Lego.



Chat:

  • If your child is practising switching, they might like to give instructions to adults or peers about the play:

    • One switch to say ‘build it up’

    • A second switch to say ‘knock it down’

  • Please see the Aided Language Display for block play.


To learn more or speak to one of our occupational therapists, please email info@cpec.org.au

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